CSETAC would like to recognize some of the student presentation winners from our 2018 Annual Meeting in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. Although she has worked on multiple highly publicized environmental issues, Sarah Kell, a student at the College of Charleston, South Carolina and the 1st place student poster presentation winner, describes what initally sparked her interest in ecotoxicology.
As a child I was always curious about how things worked and gravitated towards science. My love of science and water merged for the first time when I saw the ocean when I was eight years old. I was fascinated by the fact that a whole world existed beneath the surface and knew I wanted to study the marine environment. After obtaining my B.S. degree in Marine Biology at the University of West Florida, I worked for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. My specific interest in ecotoxicology was sparked while researching the effects of the well-known Deepwater Horizon oil spill on marine systems. This ultimately led me to pursue a my M.S. in Marine Biology at the College of Charleston.
My thesis research is focused on the pathways by which microplastics, specifically tire wear particles, enter Charleston Harbor and the potenial adverse effects they have on grass shrimp. It’s exciting and motivating to be researching an issue that has been receiving a lot of media and public attention lately. I love educating others on ways to reduce their plastic dependency and hope our labs data will help develop effective management practices, legislation and promote green initiatives.